Safety Culture Conversation

March 1, 2021

An easy way to start a safety conversation is to simply say hello. If you do not know the other person, include a short introduction of who you are. Follow that with a simple question about them, how is your day going, something that shows them you care. After that, have a plan or strategy of what you want to communicate and the tactics you will use to accomplish it. Communication needs to be more than simply disseminating information.

Invite the person, or group, into the conversation. One way to invite people into a conversation is not by making statements but by asking questions. Experts often cite three qualities of effective communication: clear, nonthreatening and two-way. This can be very challenging in the virtual meeting world and almost impossible in any kind of email communication.

Conversations allow perceived threats to be diffused. When messages are sent, there is no easy way to determine how it was received. Email messages can often be considered threatening or demanding, when that was not the intent of the senders’ message. In conversations, the receipt of information can be determined by body language or by follow-up questioning if necessary. Communication can get shut off by the way the conversation starts or how the last conversation ended.

Many believe that informed employees are more likely to be engaged employees. Our weekly safety topic is a great way we disseminate safety information. On a weekly schedule we discuss the information in management and department meetings where a conversation takes place that provides clarity and understanding of the message. Being involved in the conversation gives everyone a chance to help create the basic ideas upon which actions may be based. It is very important to verify that the message was understood and if action is required it occurs. Observations are a part of our safety activities. One of the goals of this process is to measure and increase employee engagement. Submitting observations through the Survey Monkey platform will allow us to improve feedback on what was observed and getting information from observations that can help improve safety. 

The overall strategic goal of a successful Safety Culture is worker engagement, and the primary tactic for accomplishing that goal is communication. It involves many ALL of us to be leaders of the communication, conversation, and participation to continue our safety culture improvement.